By Monique Washington
A resident of St James’ Parish, Nevis is “fed up” and is breaking her silence and voicing her many concerns on the Nevis Island Administration’s proposed pier at Mosquito Bay.
Mrs. Evelyn Henville, former Executive Director of the Nevis Historical and Conservation, spoke to Nevispages on Tuesday, May 3, 2017, and expressed her displeasure with the proposed pier which is said to begin in June-July of this year.
The cost of the pier along with the purchase of the property is an estimated ECD $5 million and is funded by a grant from the Sugar Investment Diversification Fund (SIDF). The 100 ft by 10 ft. pier is said to provide safer facilities for persons traveling to St. Kitts, via the growing water taxi service on the island and will be managed by the Nevis Air and Sea Ports Authority (NASPA).
According to a government press release, the pier will be completed before the opening of The Park Hyatt hotel on St. Kitts “thus giving Nevisians an opportunity to be able to get to the Southeast Peninsula in St. Kitts in quick time either to conduct business or work”. The pier is said to be placed on piles and not built from concrete.
“That area that they are planning to put the pier is called Mosquito Bay, and is a conservation area. People call it Oualie Beach but it is not. Mosquito Bay appears on historic maps of Nevis. The whole coastal area has been mapped as, where to fish, transportation, bays, and beaches. Mosquito Bay is not marked as a transportation area. It is the only family beach on the island. No way can you mix diesel and oil with family,” Henville said.
The Department of Marine Resources St. Kitts and Nevis currently has a Marine Map on the website with designated areas for transportation, recreation, proposed narrows fishing priority area and proposed marine reserve.
In addition in 2016 it was indicated that, “St. Kitts and Nevis has been declared as a new marine managed area (MMA)….The MMA will include different zones marked for “no take” fishing, “priority” fishing, tourism, transportation and conservation. This will allow for sustainable use of marine resources by fisheries and other industries, including the expansion of ecotourism opportunities, while still protecting the fragile ecosystems in these marine and coastal environments”.
“This pier is said to accommodate workers at the Hyatt, how many workers will there be? Let’s say there are 200 workers from Nevis, when the season becomes slow what will happen? And what about the Seabridge the Hyatt is not too far from the Seabridge,” she said. Henville noted that “it is not enough to kill a beach for 200 workers”.
She revealed that she has voiced her concerns to the Minister in charge of the project and area representative, Hon. Alexis Jeffers but to no avail.
“I am tired of the talking about the project as if it is a done deal. It is not. I am yet to hear of a community consultation or Environmental Impact Assessment, (EIA); but even if it happens, I am still against it”.
The pier, she surmised, will increase drug trafficking in the Federation.
“You are offering another point of entry for drugs. More drugs will pop up and you can’t even protect your people on land. We the people will have no say who is docking there at 4 am or 4 pm or 12 am”
Henville said that she is fine with the purchase of the property as it can be made to improve Mosquito Bay and make it more of a family area.
“I was made to understand that they purchased the property for US $1.2 million. It is like they were buying back the beach because people weren’t really using in front of the property. But I am happy they purchased it. They can open a restaurant there, put showers so persons can wash off the sand, bathrooms and they can put a nice little play ground there. Why make it a transportation site?” she questioned.
She noted that Pinney’s beach, a once family beach now have many boats docked in the area with no swimmers signs placed.
Henville said that she offered suggestions as to other location where a pier can appropriately be placed such as in the area of Hurricane Cove, or teaming with the owners of Oualie and having the old pier replaced.
“All you hear is they are NRP. He is NRP. All these political things they are throwing at us and want us to swallow it, but I am not swallowing it. I will fight this,” Henville said in conclusion.